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India, Pakistan agree to restore trust, chart way forward

Thursday, April 29, 2010 06:01:33 PM, IANS

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh shakes hands with his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani

(Photo:/ PTI)

Indian Prime Minister meets Pakistani counterpart in Thimpu: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday met his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani here on the sidelines of the 16th SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional .... Read Full

Thimphu: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani Thursday directed their foreign ministers and foreign secretaries to work out the modalities of restoring trust that could pave the way for dialogue between the two countries.

The two leaders held 50-minute talks at Bhutan House in the SAARC Village, created specially for the heads of South Asian countries who have gathered here for the 16th SAARC summit.

“They agreed that the foreign ministers and foreign secretaries will be charged with working out the modalities of restoring trust, paving the way for substantive dialogue between the two countries,” Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters after the first meeting between the leaders of the two countries in nearly nine months. They last met at the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh in July last year.

The focus is on charting the way forward, she said.

Manmohan Singh raised India’s key concerns over cross-border terror and the sharp spike in infiltration, with Pakistan assuring that its territory would not be used for terror directed against India, the Indian foreign secretary said.

“The prime minister was emphatic that the terror machine that operates from Pakistan needs to be dismantled,” she said, while adding that India’s concerns over terrorism figured prominently in the talks.

Gilani conveyed that Pakistan was serious about prosecuting the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks and all efforts should be made to to bring the trial of the Mumbai accused to a speedy conclusion, Rao said.

“They have asked us to work out the modalities. All issues of mutual concern are on the table,” Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters here in a separate briefing.

Both sides stressed that the talks were held in very warm and cordial atmosphere. The outcome of the meeting has changed the climate between India and Pakistan, an upbeat Qureshi said.

“It’s good news for the region. Let’s be happy with that,” he asserted.







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